This afternoon we embarked on a spectacular journey of world class scenery and wildlife viewing. We joined a group of other homeschooling families on an Eco-Tour of Tod Inlet and Finlayson Arm. Before embarking on our 2 hr. cruise, we were greeted by a welcoming and knowlegable ecologist willing to do some hands on exploration of marine life with the kids. Taking the kids around the docks they were able to get upclose and personal with mussels, skeleton shrimp, kelp crab, sea stars, and a giant sunflower fish. This was very cool, but only the beginning.
Embarking our 28 ft vessel with glass walls and ceiling, we were able to cruise along in comfort while drinking in all the beauty the shelterred waters of Tod inlet have to offer. The boat was able to coast easily in waters as shallow as two feet! To our delight the calm, glassy waters of Tod Inlet were filled with many moon jellyfish. The jellyfish migrate here once a year to spawn and you can see literally hundreds of them floating in the water, turning the water a translucent cloudy white.
Considering these small animals have no brains and no eyes it is truly remarkable that they manage to find their way back to this small inlet along the Saanish Penninsula. They could be thousands of miles away, yet they manage to find their way back to the place they were born in order to spawn their own young.
Carrying on out of Tod Inlet we then explored Finlayson Arm on the lookout for harbor seals. Though the tide was too high to see any among the rocky shore we did in fact see quite a few who were fishing the waters around us. We did however, manage to see (and almost missed) a male sitting on the shoreline who had in fact, spotted us. He was camouflaged nicely and didn’t let us venture too closely before he dove into safety. We paused here to pull up a crab trap, but instead of crabs we were greeted with another large sunflower fish with his stomach in the bait bucket (literally). Among other highlights we spotted an eagles nest and a handsome red tailed hawk.
Our Eco-Cruise proved to be a very fun and safe way to explore some of the amazing marine life of the Saanich penninsula. If, however; an eco-tour isn’t for you, consider an outing in the family boat, or perhaps a kayak. It’s well worth the venture and something the kids will surely remember.